National Poison Prevention Week 2020

A child tries to open a medication bottle.

Did you know there are more than 47,000 children under age 6 seen in emergency rooms every year for medicine poisoning? That’s 5 children every hour. This National Poison Prevention Week (March 15-21), Safe Kids is providing families with tips and resources to help prevent frantic calls to the Poison Help number, frightening trips to the ER and fretful hours spent bedside.

New Medicine Safety Research Report

Our latest research report, Keeping Kids Safe Around Medicine: Insights and Implications, reveals surprising ways kids are getting into medicine and what parents can do to protect them. The report also presents updated trends in medicine poisonings among young children, highlights and synthesizes key insights from previous Safe Kids research and discusses how these insights have informed education, public advocacy and awareness efforts by Safe Kids.

Read the new Medicine Safety Research Report.

Image of the Keeping Kids Safe Around Medicine: Insights and Implications Report

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Medicine Safety Infographic

Check out this infographic to learn five things that may surprise you about protecting your kids around medicine.

Keeping Kids Safe Around Medicine: Insights and Implications Inforgraphic

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Medicine Safety Information And Tips

Five Things Parents Need to Know to Keep Kids Safe Around Medicine

Most families know to store medicine out of reach of children, but many parents are surprised to discover they need to think about medicine safety in new or different ways. 

  1. Where Medicine is Stored vs. Where Medicine is Kept. Most families have a safe place in the home where they store medicine they don’t use every day, but they may keep often-used medicine handy and not be thinking about the safety factor. Kids are getting into medicine in purses, in nightstands, on counters, in drawers – places kids are drawn to explore.
  2. Child-Resistant vs. Child-Proof. While a child-resistant medicine container can slow down a child working to open it, it is not childproof. Families are often surprised by how quickly their little one can get into a child-resistant container.
  3. What You Think Your Kid Can Do vs. What Your Kid Can Do. Every parent knows that “oh!” moment when their child does something for the first time. It may be a proud moment, or it may be a frightening wakeup call. Stories about kids getting into medicine often start with that moment of surprise, “I didn’t know my child could reach up there!”
  4. Candy vs. Medicine. To a little explorer, candy and medicine can look alike, so it is especially important to keep all medicines and vitamins out of children’s reach and sight.
  5. Your Home vs. Their Home. Now that you have your household medicines stored safely, be on the alert for medicines visitors bring in, or medicines in homes you are visiting.

Simple Steps to Prevent Kids from Getting into Medicine

  1. Keep all medicine out of children’s reach and sight, even medicine you take every day. Kids are naturally curious and can easily get into things, like medicine, if they are kept in places within their reach.
  2. Choose child-resistant packaging whenever possible. If someone in your home is using pill boxes or other containers that are not child-resistant, it’s even more important to store these out of children’s reach and sight.
  3. Use reminder tools to help keep track of medicine. Instead of keeping medicine on the counter or a nightstand, set a reminder in your phone or use a medicine schedule to remember when to give and take medicine.
  4. Keep medicine safety on your child-proofing checklist. As your child learns new skills and becomes more mobile, anticipate that you may need to continue to assess and change where you keep medicine to avoid alarming surprises.
  5. Save the Poison Help number in your phone and post it visibly in your home for caregivers: 1-800-222-1222. Specialists at poison control centers provide free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day. They help with poison emergencies and can also answer questions about medicine safety.

Medicine Safety Videos

Surprises of Medicine Storage

This video shows some of the fun, and not-so-fun ways kids surprise us, including how kids can access medicine. For parents, life is full of unexpected surprises, so be as prepared as you can, particularly when it comes to medicine safety. 

View the videoWatch on YouTube 

Simple Steps to Safe Medicine Storage

Check out this video to see what it means to keep medicine up and away, out of reach and sight. 

View the videoWatch on YouTube 

You can also find the video translated into Spanish

Gary on the Street

We took to the streets to talk to parents about their medicine storage habits.

View the videoWatch on YouTube 

Other Helpful Medicine Safety Assets

Learn More about Medicine Safety

Check out our full list of medicine safety tips for families.

The Safe Kids Worldwide medicine safety program was developed with support from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.